Desperate for soldiers, Assad’s government imposes harsh recruitment measures

The Washington Post reports: The Syrian regime has intensified efforts to reverse substantial manpower losses to its military with large-scale mobilizations of reservists as well as sweeping arrest campaigns and new regulations to stop desertions and draft-dodging.

The measures have been imposed in recent months because of soaring casualties among forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, as well as apparent increases in desertions and evasions of compulsory military service, analysts say. Some speculate that the moves also could be part of stepped-up military efforts to win more ground from rebels in anticipation of possible peace talks, which Russia has attempted to restart to end nearly four years of conflict.

But the regime’s measures have added to already simmering anger among its support base over battlefield deaths during the conflict. The anger may be triggering a backlash that in turn could undermine Assad’s war aims, Syrians and analysts say. [Continue reading…]

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